In 2018, Sebastiano Dessanay wrote music for poems written by his great-grandfather Pasquale Dessanai from Nuoro, and his grandmother Fanny Satta from Gavoi (in the above painting “Visione di Gavoi” by H.C. Grassi.)
The work of both poets always emanates a strong emotional charge: often a certain sadness transpires, sometimes true suffering that mixes with melancholy, nostalgia for things, places or lost people.
For Pasquale’s poems, in Sardinian Nuorese dialect, Dessanay used complex melodies and harmonies, and angular rhythms, which often subtly refer to the Sardinian tradition, in order to translate into music a certain tension of the texts (also aware of the biography of the poet.)
For the poetry of Fanny, in Italian, Dessanay opted instead for sweeter and more feminine melodies and harmonies, and more regular rhythms, to put into music that sort of calm resignation with which we approach the end of an existence.
The project was presented live at the all’Italian Cultural Institute in London on the 16th of October 2018, with baritone Themba Mvula, Dave Le Page on violin, Jack McNeill on clarinets, Melissa Morris on piano, and Sebastiano Dessanay, author of all the music, on the double bass.